Sean Weber’s debut show
It’s Sean Weber’s first solo show. He’s 22, a 2011 MIAD graduate (drawing), and high on fun, because who wouldn’t be, having their first solo show at Jackpot Gallery, 825 E. Center Street? The Riverwest snuggery opened in 2009, and I was impressed to read on their Facebook page that Mike Frederickson exhibited during Center Street Daze.
If you want to be a Jackpot volunteer, submit work for future shows, or perhaps make an appointment to actually purchase some art, call Sean Heiser at 414 412-9090. He co-manages the space with Martha Johnson. Hours are limited: Thursday -Sunday, from 2-6 p.m., a trend as more and more artists and gallerists make it on a shoestring in our shrinking economy. Frankly, Riverwest venues may have an advantage because people there know how to stretch a buck (their cut is 40%) and tap into volunteers. A guy with a cup of joe from Fuel Café (across the way) says that in the 70s, Jackpot’s space was occupied by Gordon’s, an eatery specializing in heaping plates of mac & cheese, $2.50 per.
This was nice to know as I stood in front of Weber’s Winnebago, parked in a landscape where cacti grow. Ma and Pa sprawl buck naked, soaking up rays in chairs fronting the behemoth RV. The acrylic and mixed-media characters look stunned, as if life had dealt them a bad deal. Or maybe a good one, because they’ve left their cares behind. And the kids.
Weber says the idea morphed from watching Breaking Bad.
On the south wall, a paint depicts a Picasso-like dude in a chair.
“Picasso’s work and, more broadly, Cubism was an influence,” Weber says, adding that “seated figures are a vehicle for getting into a painting.” “Big Red,” depicts a scruffy, pot-bellied cartoony character in a chair. He too, looks disgusted with life, though perhaps he can’t afford another beer. Or he didn’t win the lottery.
It’s refreshing to chat with a young artist who actually knows how to talk about his paintings and how they came to be. During our conversation, I look around at the diversity of content and decide that like most young artists, he has yet to settle on a specific style. Across the room, a pair of paintings memorialize a Life magazine cover featuring the U.S. landing on the moon. Weber wasn’t born when that happened, but he was alive and well when Breaking Bad rolled around.
This is a carefully edited exhibition, as opposed to those where the artist is intent on exhibiting everything he/she has ever done. Get to Jackpot before it closes on Nov. 9.
Next up at Jackpot: Photographs by Wisconsin artists, opens Nov. 18.